3D printing guitars

Discussion in 'Luthiery, Modifications & Customizations' started by foreright, Jul 14, 2020.

  1. foreright

    foreright SS.org Regular

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    Does anyone have any actual experience in 3D printing guitars? I've done a fair bit of design for 3D printing in the last few years, mostly quadcopter frames and components and although they have to be impact resistant they are not really under tension.

    I note from other projects on the 'net that most people seem to be going with a wooden core / "tone block" and building around it, and indeed I have a few designs myself that use this paradigm - I'm wondering if that's strictly necessary? Clearly there are materials out there (CF impregnated filaments etc.) that will likely be strong enough for the centre section of a guitar but would PLA printed at 80%+ infill, reinforced with a pair of 5mm stainless steel bars from the bridge to neck pocket (no space for anything thicker!) be stiff enough for a 6 string to survive long term?

    So for example in the following image, the green section would be printed at 80% infill with the rest of the body in grey at 20-25%. The body is 44mm thick:

    jem.png

    Given I would be getting someone else to print this the costs prohibit a lot of experimentation (I'm looking at about £32 ($40) to get just that central green section printed...). I'm just talking about the body here - I have an old RG neck here ready and sitting around doing nothing.

    Any thoughts? Is this simply a non-starter?
     
  2. Adieu

    Adieu SS.org Regular

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    I suspect the idea is that the "tone block" is the actual guitar body, and the rest is just decorative embellishment
     
  3. foreright

    foreright SS.org Regular

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    Yup I'd agree however there's no reason that needs to be the case is there... I built a few guitars on my uni course in the late 90s from "alternative" materials (mostly acrylic) and weight aside they sound just like guitars made from wood. Not that I'm opening the pandora's box of saying tone wood is a myth of course ;)
     
  4. Kyle-Vick

    Kyle-Vick Also likes Jeeps and Motocross.

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    I don't know how it will hold up with the tension from the strings. The material is still fairly brittle especially with it being in layers instead of a solid homogeneous piece. Also, PLA does not love heat, so you would wanna avoid direct sunlight with it strung up for any long period of time. I see how it would work having a tone block made of wood, that is about the only way I see it holding up.
     
  5. KR250

    KR250 Build addict

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    Interesting concept, but what is the motivator for the 3D printed parts that wood couldn't do for cheaper?
     
  6. foreright

    foreright SS.org Regular

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    My original design would have been difficult / impossible to make from wood - this one is a bit more conventional. Really it's just "because" more than anything haha.
     
  7. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive CNC hack

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    I would only bother with it if you were either:

    1. Doing it to see if you can 3d print a body.
    2. Making some kind of shape you can't easily manufacture without printing.
     

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